With more changes than an amateur theatre production’s wardrobe, Google have unleashed another shift in how your account functions. This time, it’s the turn of ad rotation, or to be more specific, a newfound lack of rotation.
We’re big fans of split testing here at PPC Rescue and we believe that a strong adherence to trying new ad copy can pay dividends (quite literally) once you connect with your customers using the right messages. We enable this split testing to take place by switching the ad delivery method to ‘Rotate: show adverts more evenly’ and this allows us and our clients to collate data based on how Google’s users interact with the advert.
Google have taken the liberty of changing this to ‘Rotate evenly: Show ads more evenly for 30 days, then optimise for clicks’. Why is that an issue? Because clicks mean cash to Google, which does not often make for a strong ROI (return on investment) for advertisers.
How do we judge an advert to be good or bad when compared to its peers? By the click-through rate and conversions chalked up to its performance. Does this tally with optimisation for clicks? Rarely. Optimise for clicks is about driving volume and is wonderful as part of a branding or awareness exercise, but not so much when you’re driving conversions in line with a specific cost per acquisition.
One of our team had a conversation with a Google rep and transcribed part of the conversation for us to mull over (with disbelief, I might add):
“I would like to bring your attention to the fact that ‘optimise for clicks’ settings gives preference to your ads that are expected to get the most clicks, based on your past click-through rates. Google will try to show those ads more often than other ads in your ad group to help you gain more clicks and impressions. After all, who doesn’t more clicks and impressions? This setting will actually help you get more business!”
Read that last line again. More clicks and impressions lead to more business? That’s a bold statement and one that anyone who has haemorrhaged money on AdWords will tell you is predominantly untrue.
Let’s illustrate the point to put things beyond doubt. If you have an ad group that contains two adverts set to rotate, and one advert running a CTR of 10% with a 6% conversion rate that’s received 156 clicks and another advert that has a 4.5% CTR and 0.8% conversion rate that’s received 175 clicks, guess which advert Google is going to default to: the poorly-performing advert with the highest number of clicks.
We wonder: at which school of economics did our Google contact study? Answers on a postcard…